Fall 2020

Fall 2020

This semester, SDLVC is going virtual! For meeting information, please contact the reading group coordinator (Robin) at robinst2@illinois.edu

September 16

Vigouroux, Cécile B. 2017. The discursive pathway of two centuries of raciolinguistic stereotyping: ‘Africans as incapable of speaking French’. Language in Society 46 (1): 5-21.

This article is about the discursive pathway of grammatical structures such as y’a bon ‘there’s good’, documenting how, in Hexagonal France, it has become an ‘enregistered emblem’ for indexing sub-Saharan Africans and, by extension, any African as allegedly incapable of speaking French competently. I argue that tracing pathways makes it possible to unveil the intricacy of the historicities of production, circulation, and interpretations of such racially based linguistic stereotypes. One of the central questions addressed in this article is: What are the sociohistorical conditions of the emergence and maintenance of these linguistic stereotypes? I show that these are grounded in long-standing linguistic ideologies of French as an exceptional language and of African languages and, therefore, their speakers, as primitive. I demonstrate how the rise of first age mass culture in the nineteenth century contributed to both the entextualization and the circulation of these stereotypical representations. (Stereotypes, mediatization, enregisterment, language ideology, France, Africa).

Discussion leaders: Anna-María Escobar, Zsuzsanna Fagyal

September 30

D’Onofrio, A. 2019. Complicating categories: Personae mediate racialized expectations of non-native speech. Journal of Sociolinguistics 23, 346-366.

This paper examines how American listeners’ expectations of non‐native English speech from speakers of East Asian descent can be modulated by the persona invoked by a speaker’s visual display. While prior work has typically linked expectations of non‐native speaker status with East Asian‐ness broadly construed, this study indicates that US listeners’ expectations can be tied to more particular manifestations of this racialized identity, themselves informed by raciolinguistic ideologies. In a lexical recall task with persona‐based photographic primes, different visual styles embodied by the same Korean individual induced contrasting expectations of “foreign accented” speech, which corresponded to significant differences in how well the speech was remembered. Ultimately, I argue that models of sociolinguistic perception should include cognitive representations of social constructs like personae, not only to better capture the detailed nature of listeners’ sociolinguistic expectations, but also to avoid perpetuating homogenizing treatments of racialized groups’ language practices.

Discussion leader: Charlotte Prieu

October 14

Tremblay, M.,Blondeau, H., & Labeau, E. 2020. Texting the future in Belgium and Québec: Present matters. Journal of French Language Studies 30(1): 73-98. 

This study investigates the variation in the expression of Future Temporal Reference in text messages in Belgian and Québécois French. Three variants are considered: the Futurate Present, the Synthetic Future and the Analytic Future. The results of multivariate analyses show that the use of the Futurate Present does not appear to be subject to dialectal variation: both communities use this variant at similar rates, and the use of the variant is constrained by the same linguistic factors. The two dialects show differences in their choice of the Synthetic vs the Analytic Future. Unlike Québécois French, Belgian French strongly favors the Synthetic Future. The two dialects also differ with respect to the linguistic constraints in effect. Our analysis shows the need to explore the relationship between variants, and to distinguish between Covert T (realized as Present tense) and Overt T (either Synthetic or Analytic Future). Our results point toward the hybrid nature of text messages: while our results show patterns of use in line with oral/conversational corpora as reflected by the dialectal variation  observed, text messages are not exempt from the influence of written French, as shown by the use of Synthetic Future forms in affirmative sentences in the Québec corpus.

Discussion leader: Salvatore Callesano

October 28

Leimgruber, J.R.E. 2020. Global multilingualism, local bilingualism, official monolingualism: the linguistic landscape of Montreal’s St. Catherine Street. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 23(6): 708-723.

This paper documents the linguistic landscape of Saint Catherine Street, a major thoroughfare in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The street is taken as a microcosm of the sociolinguistic variation observable at the various levels of analysis, ranging from the neighborhood, the city, the province, Canada as a whole, and the globally similar environment of the downtown shopping street. By way of a systematic sampling of signs in the street’s linguistic landscape, the interactions between federal policies of bilingualism, provincial laws strengthening the visibility of French, and local linguistic realities is considered, as is the impact of the global connectedness of both the ‘grassroots’ and the commercial world on the linguistic landscape in this street. While the presence of French and English is largely instrumental in function, many instances of other languages are found to be motivated by more symbolic functions, driven, in no small part, by the globally encoded indexical meanings of the languages in question.

Discussion leader: Robin Turner

November 11

McGowan, K.B. & Babel, A.M. 2020. Perceiving isn’t believing: Divergence in levels of sociolinguistic awareness. Language in Society 49(2) 231-256.

The influence of social knowledge on speech perception is a question of interest to a range of disciplines of language research. This study combines experimental and qualitative approaches to investigate whether the various methodological and disciplinary threads of research on this topic are truly investigating the same phenomenon to provide converging evidence in our understanding of social listening. This study investigates listeners’ perceptions of Spanish andQuechua speakers speaking Spanish in the context of a contact zone between these two languages and their speakers in central Bolivia. The results of a pair of matched-guise vowel discrimination tasks and subsequent interviews demonstrate that what people PERCEIVE, as measured by experimental tasks, is not necessarily what they BELIEVE they hear, as reported in narrative responses to interview prompts. Multiplemethodological approaches must be employed in order to fully understand the way that we perceive language at diverging levels of sociolinguistic awareness. (Perception, sociophonetics, sociolinguistics, awareness, Andean Spanish)